If you associate The World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) Festival with vegan flapjacks and the vacant stares of hippies, then its Singapore offshoot will come as a blessed relief. Since it began in England in 1982, WOMAD has become a global franchise, staging annual events as far afield as Sicily and South Australia. But at this year's WOMAD Singaporescheduled for Aug. 24 to 26 at the city-state's historic Fort Canning Parkthere won't be a single rainbow-colored garment in sight, nor the slightest whiff of patchouli to wrinkle your nose. In fact (and in the Singaporean fashion) it will probably be one of the tidiest festivals you will come across, as well as one of the better organized. Well-dressed families and groups spread blankets and sip wine on Fort Canning Park's immaculately kept grounds; there are orderly queues for food and merchandise; musicians of a uniformly high standard take to the stage punctually. Film screenings, music and dance workshops and a plethora of DJs complete the happy scene.
This year's lineup is not being released until July 5, but you can expect a headline act of real quality if previous years are anything to go byreggae superstar Jimmy Cliff, legendary jazz drummer Billy Cobham and DJ and tabla player Talvin Singh have all topped the bill. Supporting acts are meanwhile drawn from the entire world-music spectrum. And if you decide that three days of Kenyan nzele, Asturian saltones or some such is too much, single-day passes are available. For more information, see womad.org.